The nom de guerre Tall Dark Stranger evokes mystery and intrigue. You wonder if this person is a drifter, a person on the run, or someone followed closely by danger. All of those elements are on display in Tall Dark Stranger’s There It Is.
The 11-song set opens with the guitar anthem “Psychic Surgery,” a song about flirtation with a vague source of danger and temptation. The song is laden with crunchy guitars and purposefully mysterious lyrics that leave you wondering what the singer is searching for, and whether he even knows. It leaves the mind to wonder, and wander, about the various possibilities of unfulfillment with which the singer is struggling.
The album adds to the intrigue by taking a turn from the cutting guitar rock with the next three songs, which feature more ’80s-style rhythms and arrangements. The album keeps adding unexpected elements, switching styles throughout. Tall Dark Stranger—aka the multitalented Dee Allen—could just as easily be called “Jack of All Trades.” There is no settling for predetermined genres or styles, just an artist who presents a different side of himself at every chance. This album could be labeled unfocused by some, but that’s part of its charm. Listeners will never be bored. It is the definition of an artist unencumbered by genres or beholden to fitting into a specific shape. Tall Dark Stranger has truly made a gritty, powerful and rocking album and declared, “There It Is.”
Overall, the album has some great guitar work, spot-on vocals and heartfelt lyrics. The album is loaded with quirky word choices and vivid imagery. A quick glance through the song titles and you will find “Psychic Surgery,” “Solar System,” “Watery Hands” and “Center of the Universe.” High points on the album are “Psychic Surgery” and the ballad “White Gold.”